Originally writing on April 6, 2020.
This April 22, 2020, Earth Day goes digital due to COVID-19 health crisis. Much of the collective activities will take place in digital spaces and on various online platforms.
An app has been designed to allow anyone to collect data such as pollution and insect population. It is for Citizen Scientists. It is an opportunity to be a field scientists. The information collected will form a catalogue of environmental data. With the Earth Challenge app, individuals can join the network of citizen scientists. The information collected will help in the research to gather more data on a grand scale.
– Overview of Local air quality, insect populations, and plastic pollution
– Option to record and share observations
– Interactive map with observations
– Lesson plans and activities
– Customized actions for local communities and regions.
The app is developed via a collaboration of Wilson International Center of Scholars, the US State Department, and Earth Day Network. It is endorsed by Philippe Cousteau, and with numerous affiliations including ESA (European Space Agency), UN Environment, Connect4, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, EarthWatch Institute, SciStarter… Background about the development of the Earth Challenge App is available on the Earth Day Network website.
SHORT HISTORY OF EARTH DAY
The first earth day occurred on April 22, 1970. The date marks the first anniversary of the environmental movement working as a positive collective force. Actually, the renowned Conservationist and Biologist Rachel Carson outcries about the hazards of our activities on nature was instrumental in creating a foundation for the green movement. Her book Silent Spring written in 1962 and accompanying serial articles in the New Yorker stocked full of scientific research brought public awareness to the damaging effects of pesticides particularly DDT on our ecosystem and birdlife. Igniting investigation and social action, her ideas propelled the Environmental Defence Fund into existence in 1967; and DDT was eventually banned in 1972.
Around the same time, oil spills off the coast of California in 1969 galvanized US senator Gaylord Nelson into action. Inspired by anti-war protests and particularly the sit-ins being held by students, he followed suite with the idea to educate everyone with a “national teach-in” for the environment. Publicising it across America, he conceptualised and organised the first earth day on April 22, 1970, with an estimated 20 million participants joining in. The first earth day action prompted the creation of the Environmental Agency and clean Air, clean Water, and Endangered Species Act.
In 1990, Earth Day became a global annual event. In 2020, Earth Day celebrates 50 years of environmental actions despite the COVID-19 lockdown.
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